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State v. Rohra

Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc

May 1, 2018

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
ALOK KUMAR ROHRA, Appellant.

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS The Honorable Michael F. Stelzer, Judge

          ZEL M. FISCHER, CHIEF JUSTICE

         Alok Rohra appeals the circuit court's judgment convicting him of unlawful possession of a firearm in violation of § 571.070.[1] Rohra argues the amended complaint and indictment charging him with unlawful possession of a firearm failed to allege the essential element of a prior "conviction." Rohra waived this argument when he pleaded guilty. The judgment is affirmed.[2]

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Rohra pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, § 571.070, one count of possession of marijuana, §195.202, and possession of drug paraphernalia, § 195.233. The state charged Rohra with unlawful possession of a firearm for knowingly possessing a firearm after being "convicted of the felonies of possession of a controlled substance [Ecstasy] and unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute [marijuana] in the District Court of Canadian County, Oklahoma." Rohra moved to dismiss the charge on grounds he did not have a prior "conviction" to support the unlawful possession of a firearm charge because the Oklahoma district court entered a deferred judgment. The circuit court overruled Rohra's motion to dismiss. Rohra, thereafter, pleaded guilty.

         At the plea hearing, Rohra testified he understood the charges and wished to plead guilty. Rohra further testified he was not under the influence of drugs or medication and had no mental issue interfering with his understanding of the proceedings. Rohra then testified as follows:

[The Court]: Okay. You understand you don't have to plea guilty?
[Rohra]: Yes, sir.
[The Court]: All right. If you don't plead guilty you have the right to a judge trial or a jury trial. You have the right to the services of a lawyer during that trial. The right to confront the State's witnesses and cross-examine them, and the right to subpoena your own witnesses and present evidence. Do you understand all of that?
[Rohra]: Yes, sir.
[The Court]: You also have the right to remain silent and not testify against yourself. Do you know what that means?
[Rohra]: Yes, sir.
[The Court]: Okay. You are also presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Do ...

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